Citizens use police tracking apps and social media to expose US attacks on peaceful protesters

Impeached US President Donald Trump, in response to civil unrest surrounding the killing of George Floyd , over the weekend ordered US military and police forces to attack citizen protesters.

President Trump appears to have seen footage of police officers throwing women to the curb, speeding cars into crowds, firing rubber bullets at reporters, and pushing a man with a cane to the ground — and has said: “Yes. We need more of that."

— Matt Viser (@mviser) June 1, 2020


During the protests, violent criminals taking advantage of the chaos clashed with vigilantes encouraged by the president’s reckless tweets causing numerous casualties, including several deaths. But the ongoing protests have drawn tens of millions of people from across the country, the vast majority of which remain peaceful.

The police and military, however, are attacking peaceful protesters around the country without provocation.

Police and military personnel in dozens of cities across the country were caught assaulting peaceful protesters in videos that were streamed live on social media and shared by millions. Many of the attacks are confusing and appear motivated by nothing more than the desire to hurt citizens, no matter how peaceful they were:

They literally can’t help themselves!

— Albert MacGloan ➐ (@AlbertMacGloan) May 31, 2020

Tear gas as been released into the crowd here at the White House , we are backing up now into H street @wusa9 #DCProtests

— Sharla McBride (@SharlaMcBride) June 1, 2020

Inexplicable surge by police into crowd. I’m watching from 20 feet away.

— John C. Liu (@LiuNewYork) June 1, 2020

Same thing happens a few blocks later. Bike cop tries to pass a marcher on his right with nowhere near enough room. Marcher inevitably makes contact and the officer puts him in a headlock

— MaxOnƬwitter (@The_Stepover) May 31, 2020

They shot a blind man. What threat could this blind brown man have possibly posed to the officers that shot him?

In Lancaster Ca, police shoots an unarmed blind Latino man.. then realizes what they’ve done, then started to perform cpr on the man.. but the man died

— Biden_Brigade (@biden_brigade) June 1, 2020

They attacked elderly bystanders:

Watching live feed local ABC affiliate, city center Salt Lake City. Police identified as SWAT team, got out of vehicles and immediately knocked a grey haired man using a cane, to the ground for no apparent reason. WHY?? ⁦

— SkyeMartin (@skye_rtin) May 30, 2020

They attacked politicians:

VIDEO: U.S. Congresswoman Joyce Beatty of Ohio being pepper sprayed by Columbus Police during protest

— Tim Ryan Renaud (@TimWCBD) May 30, 2020

They broke ranks to attack black people:

For those of you who think you know all about how things escalate during a protest.

— Ava DuVernay (@ava) May 30, 2020

They ran over protesters:

BREAKING: #NYPD runs over protestors deliberately. They drive directly into the crowd.

This is attempted murder!

— Stephanie, Ph.D Candidate (@Stephaniejing2) May 31, 2020

They let white people pass, then busted the windows out of a car full of black people so they could shoot them with tasers multiple times and then drag them out of their vehicles and assault them for breaking-curfew-while-black:

every moment of this insane. atlanta imposed a 9 pm curfew, and at 9:30 cops swarmed this car, bashed the windows, stabbed the tires and tased the black people. all behind a car of white people violating the same curfew, smiling and waving at the camera

— rudy betrayed (@rudy_betrayed) June 1, 2020

They fired on people standing on their porches:

Share widely: National guard and MPD sweeping our residential street. Shooting paint canisters at us on our own front porch. Yelling “light em up” #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd #JusticeForGeorge #BlackLivesMatter

— Tanya Kerssen (@tkerssen) May 31, 2020

And they fired on people inside their own homes:

Need y’all to see this.

— isaac | BLM (@GrandDaDSac) May 31, 2020

Among those targeted across the country were numerous reporters . In several instances, police opened fire on reporters after they confirmed their identities as members of the press. This, too, comes at the orders of the impeached president who has declared the press the “enemy of the people.”

Minneapolis police march on a parking lot where VICE reporter @MichaelAdams317 is sheltering. He is wears a press badge.

“I’m Press! Press! Press!”

Cop shouts “I DON’T CARE” and throws him to the ground. Another cop pepper sprays him directly in the face.

— Chad Loder (@chadloder) May 31, 2020

Police just raided the gas station we were sheltering at. After shouting press multiple times and raising my press card in the air, I was thrown to the ground. Then another cop came up and peppered sprayed me in the face while I was being held down.

— Michael Anthony Adams (@MichaelAdams317) May 31, 2020

. @GarrettHaake gets hit with a police projectile while reporting live from out of control protests in downtown DC

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 1, 2020

Cops in a handful of cities used the protests as an opportunity to feign solidarity with those protesting them.

BREAKING: NYPD have taken a knee in solidarity with protestors. #nycprotests

— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) June 1, 2020

However, despite the willingness of a few to go through the theatrics of protesting while in uniform, it’s telling that tens of millions of cameras aimed at the police have captured hundreds of instances of police violence but, to the best of this reporter’s knowledge, no instances showing police who aren’t attacking peaceful protesters stopping the ones who are. The ones marching with us instead of protecting us from violence are getting paid the same taxpayer dollars as the colleagues they’re failing to police.

How did this all happen? Social media and police scanner apps, that’s how. We’ve seen protests and riots in the US before. But in the past, the narrative always hinged on showing legions of violent looters burning buildings at night juxtaposed against calm, stoic peace officers protecting protesters from harm during the day.

But, so far, the government can’t force people to sign off Twitter or stop downloading apps. Curfews and overloaded phone lines can’t keep activists from organizing and, perhaps most important of all, the people finally have a dead-simple option to monitor the police in real time.

Tracking police communications used to require a hardware scanner and a little bit of know how. But these days you can get one by simply searching for “police scanner” in the Apple or Google app store. All you have to do is install the app and pick the dispatch you want to listen in on. Most of these apps will alert you when there’s police action in a city and you can always tell how many people are listening to a specific stream.


— can you stfu please | blm (@onlyfakin) May 30, 2020

"There is a young lady with a loud speaker/megaphone down here. She's going to try to whip this crowd up again. We should consider gas before that happens."

— Omaha Scanner (@omaha_scanner) May 30, 2020

At least six times while listening to police comms via scanner on 30 May, I overheard officers in Minneapolis signal their intent to fire chemical weapons at peaceful crowds and subsequently saw tweets go out warning protesters to prepare their cameras and ready themselves for impending assault.

I tip my hat to the tireless efforts of those risking their lives and freedom to expose the tyranny of the US government in this unprecedented time. Stay safe out there, stay non-violent, and keep filming.

Corona coverage

Read ourdaily coverage on how the tech industry is responding to the coronavirus and subscribe to our weekly newsletter Coronavirus in Context .

For tips and tricks on working remotely, check out our Growth Quarters articleshere or follow us on Twitter .